Metsä Board’s comparable operating result in January–March 2023 was EUR 89 million

January–March 2023 (compared to 1–3/2022)
• Sales were EUR 542.1 million (582.0).
• The comparable operating result was EUR 88.7 million 121.5), or 16.4% of sales (20.9). Operating result was EUR 88.4 million (140.7).
• Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.19 (0.26), and earnings per share were EUR 0.19 (0.31).
• Comparable return on capital employed was 13.9 % (21.1).
• Net cash flow from operations was EUR 126.4 million (92.6).

Metsä Board’s CEO Mika Joukio:
“Despite the challenging business environment, our first-quarter sales totalled EUR 542 million, and our comparable operating margin was 16.4% (1–3/2022: 582 and 20.9). This is an excellent performance, taking into account that our production and delivery volumes decreased notably from the comparison period and remained below capacity levels. In addition, our profitability was negatively affected by total costs, which were some 15% higher than in the corresponding period last year. In January–March, our cash flow from operations was EUR 126 million (1–3/2022: 93), and our balance sheet remained strong, with our interest-bearing net liabilities close to zero.

The decline in demand for consumer products and adjustments to inventories in the value chain continue to affect the demand for fresh fibre paperboards. However, the higher average prices of our paperboards and a positive currency effect have made up for the weaker result caused by declining volumes. In the first quarter, average prices were driven up by new annual contract prices for folding boxboard and focus on customers in our main market areas. We adjusted and will continue to adjust our production to match the demand situation. In the second quarter, our production will also be restricted by several planned annual maintenance shutdowns at our mills in Finland.

In the beginning of the year, the pulp market developed weaker than expected, having a negative impact on our profitability. In Europe, the demand for market pulp has decreased by the prolonged shutdowns of paper and paperboard producers. In China, the economic recovery following the lifting of strict Covid restrictions has not boosted demand for market pulp as expected. Market pulp prices decreased in January–March from the previous quarter, and the same trend has continued after the review period.”
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